This afternoon, at a ceremony held on the University of Mary campus in Bismarck, North Dakota, officials from NOAA's National Weather Service recognized the achievement of the University of Mary, America's Leadership University, in becoming a StormReady® University.
"StormReady® encourages counties and communities, in this case the community of the University of Mary, to take a new, proactive approach to improving severe weather education and awareness, ensuring severe weather watches and warnings are received on campus, and acted on by students, staff, and visitors. Getting the word out when warnings are issued and before severe weather strikes is key to weather safety on a university campus", said John Paul Martin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NOAA's National Weather Service Forecast Office in Bismarck.
"Being designated as a StormReady® University by the National Weather Service is an honor for Mary and a tribute to all our campus officials who have worked hard behind the scenes to meet those requirements," commented Father James Shea, president of the University of Mary. "Our goal is to ensure the safety of everyone before severe weather strikes our campus community. Critical to any safety is communication and preparedness. With this partnership between the University of Mary, the National Weather Service and state and local emergency agencies, we are even more storm-ready and prepared for the quick-changing weather on the Northern Plains."
Mary Senger, Burleigh County Emergency Manager, said, "Through the National Weather Service's StormReady® program, the University of Mary and its safety officials have shown that notification of severe weather warnings, and safety of its student body and staff, are taken seriously. The university is an important part of this community and keeping students and staff safe during severe weather is a high priority."
The nationwide preparedness program uses a grassroots approach to help counties and communities, like the community of the University of Mary, develop plans to handle severe weather threats. The program is voluntary and provides clear-cut advice from a partnership between local National Weather Service forecast offices and state and local emergency managers, and university safety officials.
Potentially deadly weather affects every community and person in the country.
That's why NOAA's National Weather Service developed the StormReady® program.
To be recognized as a StormReady® University, here are some of the things the University of Mary has improved upon and implemented:
• Strengthened their relationship with the National Weather Service and Burleigh
County Emergency Management (university safety officials visited NWS
Bismarck, and NWS staff visited with university officials on campus);
• Increased the number of ways weather warnings are received on campus and passed through to students and staff (NOAA-Weather Radio, e-mail alerting system through Burleigh County, weather warning alerting system through the "interactive NWS" system);
• Improved and more proactive monitoring of local weather conditions;
• Promoted the importance of severe weather readiness, understanding, and
reporting through a severe weather safety seminar (SKYWARN);
• Reviewed their formal hazardous weather operations plan.
Jeff Savadel, Meteorologist-In-Charge of the National Weather Service Office in Bismarck said, "The United States is the most severe weather prone nation in the world. The mission of the National Weather Service is to reduce the loss of life and property from these storms, and StormReady® is a program designed to do just that. I'm proud to announce that the University of Mary is the first StormReady® university in the area of responsibility served by NWS Bismarck, and the second StormReady® university in North Dakota".
NWS meteorologist Jimmy Taeger, who worked closely with university officials, including safety officer Bob Keller, to achieve this recognition, said "StormReady® in no way means storm proof. Severe weather has struck this community in the past and will strike again. However, I'm confident that the StormReady® program has helped the university become better prepared to deal with severe weather hazards even before they strike" (April 2012).
On the Web:
University of Mary: www.umary.edu
NOAA National Weather Service Bismarck: www.weather.gov/bis
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards: www.weather.gov/nwr
NOAA's StormReady program: www.stormready.noaa.gov